How Inspire, Amazon’s commercial TikTok will work

How Inspire, Amazon's commercial TikTok will work

After recording an extremely positive quarterly and purchasing iRobot, Amazon is testing Inspire, a feature of its app that will show users a carousel of Tiktok-style photo and video products.

Amazon, the e-commerce giant founded by Jeff Bezos , closed the second quarter of 2022 with revenues of 121.23 billion dollars, against a firm expectation of 119.09 billion dollars. But it does not intend to bask on its laurels: the obstacles encountered by its electric van startup Rivian and the high costs of managing the logistics activities that animate its world store, lead it to diversify investments or, at least, continue to update the way in which to do business.

Although the projections for the third and fourth quarters still paint a scenario of strong growth (125 and 130 billion dollars respectively), here, in addition to the recent acquisition of Colin Angle 's iRobot company for 61 dollars per share, for a total of 1 , 7 billion, Amazon's R&D department is also finalizing the code of Inspire, an app along the lines of TikTok but directly linked to the commercial platform. Let's go in order.


To understand why Amazon's Inspire draws inspiration from the Chinese social network, just rattle off some numbers: TikTok has between one and two billion registered users (the data differ, the official ones are naturally higher), 63% of the profiles present on the platform comes from India and China. According to the report signed by WeAreSocial, in 2020, the registered Italians were already 5.4 million, or 7.7% of the national population.

59% of users are female, followed by 39% of men and 2% of people who do not identify themselves in the first two genders (BusinessofApps, 2021), but the figure that appeals to those who live on Adv is another : According to estimates provided by TikTok itself, 66% of users are under the age of 30 and most people are between the ages of 16 and 24.

With the rapid crisis of traditional media (from television to print media) and the growing lack of interest of twenty-year-olds for Facebook and Twitter (considered social for “boomers”, equivalent to virtual RSAs…), it is increasingly difficult to reach young and very young people. That's why it's an increasingly interesting platform for those who sell their products online and that's why Amazon has chosen to be inspired by that, with Inspire.


The news leaked about it are still few. According to reports from the Israeli Watchful Technologies that monitors its development, the e-commerce giant is testing a function to show users photos and videos along the lines of the functioning of Chinese social media. At the center, however, there would not be users and their skills, but the products for sale.

At the moment the app would be tested by a small group of employees and would be substantiated in fact in a widget on the home page of the Amazon app, again according to the statements collected by the Wall Street Journal of the Israeli artificial intelligence software house that tracked the use. of the function. Once the videos are played, customers can like, save and share the content, as well as purchase items directly from the feed.


If Inspire were to ever debut (it is not certain, or it could in any case have other functions) Amazon would follow Meta, owner of Instagram and Fecebook, and the company that controls Google, Alphabet, who have already tried their hand in an attempt to increase engagement. of users through short videos (the reels), chasing the TikTok phenomenon.

However, it is not clear how users will be able to interact with these advertising carousels: it is not known, in short, if they will be able to create them in person, for example to review products just delivered by Amazon couriers.

The alternative, moreover, would be to create a long sequence of commercials that are not very exciting for viewers. If, on the other hand, the registered profiles were given the opportunity to create content, e-commerce would in fact open a new path that can be used by those who want to try success by becoming an influencer. According to a weCreate survey of 2021, only 4.76% of content creators on TikTok are over 35 years of age and many, very young, have already obtained dizzying contracts.


But, as we will see shortly, TikTok also has surprises in store. After all, not even a month ago the numbers reported by the French social network BeReal allowed the app from beyond the Alps to establish itself on the media, even among the less young and among those who do not hang out in similar virtual squares.

From its debut, about 18 months ago, to last month, BeReal has totaled 30 million downloads in the US with a peak of 330,000 on Sunday 17 July alone. It is a software with a strong playful spirit, rather than informative (like Twitter) or devoted to the cultivation of a talent (like, in its small way, TikTok itself). In fact, you can publish content when the application decides: once a day the app calls the user to order and gives him 2 minutes time within which he will have to take a photo that tells what you are doing, both from the front and rear cameras.


It is possible (of course) to ignore the alert and the timer to publish when you want, but it should be noted that these are "late" photos and therefore posing, not genuine. Furthermore, to encourage all users to participate (they are platforms that live off that), it is possible to sift through the contents of others only if you share your own. Whoever is a "lurker", a "parasitic" phenomenon that was hardly tolerated in the days of Web 1.0 and forums, is in fact excluded from social life here.

The French application wants to cultivate a community of Internet users very different from the one that populates Instagram: no glossy photos, postcards from exotic places and sculpted physics. The software only gives two minutes to get ready, so you have to shoot where you are and how you are, since accessing the app to the dual lens of the smartphone allows you to shoot even what is normally cut off from the image, revealing if the user is without make-up, disheveled, in pajamas, overweight, with dark circles or acne …

Given that there are internal reports at Meta that would show that Instagram use is associated with serious risks and harm to the physical and mental health of young people, including depression, eating disorders and even suicide, ultimately normalizing the appearance. physique and the life of others could allow a healthier approach to this social network, making less aware users understand what lies behind the idyllic landscapes, those perennially made-up faces or always sculpted physicists. Hence the payoff chosen by the developer, Alexis Barreyat , who is quickly establishing himself among the most influential Europeans: Your friends for real .


Probably this more "casual" and homemade spirit, which finally allows everyone to look disheveled and without make-up without fear of body shaming, is the basis of the success of the French app. But TikTok, it was said, will not stand still and has already entrusted its counter-move to an artificial intelligence-based image generator not unlike Google's Dall-E 2 or Imagen.

In short, a description is inserted, which merges several elements and the AI ​​does the rest, elaborating for us an image that has the desired requirements and can then be used as a backdrop for one's own performances. From the first attempts, it seems that especially the censorship filter works very well, to prevent users from being able to publish content that is gory or otherwise contrary to the rules of conduct. But, after all, one would expect nothing less from a Chinese app …

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Thu, 18 Aug 2022 10:16:53 +0000.